D'Arcy Magee Summer School Launched: 'Thomas D'Arcy McGee – from Young Irelander to Canadian Loyalist'

His Excellency Loyola Hearn, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland was in Carlingford on May 8th to launch the inaugural Thomas D'Arcy McGee International Summer School which will take place from 20th to 22nd August.

The children of St Olivers National School Carlingford welcome the Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn, Oliver Tully Chairman of Louth Co Co, Professor David Wilson, President of DkIT Denis Cummins, Andrew Griffith, Chairman of the Board of DkIT and the great great grandson of Darcy Magee, D'Arcy Magee Quinn. Photo's by Shay Larkin.

D'Arcy McGee is not only an important local historical figure but also a very significant national figure in Canada. He was born in Carlingford on the 13th of April 1825 and at seventeen he emigrated to the United States. He returned to Ireland as a successful nationalist journalist and enthusiastically supported the 1848 Young Ireland rebellion. He escaped to Philadelphia as 'a traitor to the British Government'. Over the following years McGee moved to Canada and to the right of the political spectrum. He became one of the founding fathers of the Canadian Confederation, but was assassinated on April 7th 1868, probably by a Fenian hand.

L-R: Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn, Professor David Wilson and D'Arcy Magee Quinn

The Ambassador explained his significance to the people of Canada and the importance of building this connection to Louth. "From his early involvement in Ireland, to his political leadership in Canada which led to him being called a 'Father of Confederation', D'Arcy McGee has created his place in history. This contribution is fittingly recognised in the establishment of the D'Arcy McGee Summer School in the hometown of his birth".

The guest speaker will be Dr. David Wilson, Professor of Celtic Studies and History, University of Toronto. Professor Wilson is the leading academic authority on the life and politics of Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Wilson has called Darcy Magee "a brilliant writer, outstanding orator and charismatic politician, he was one of the greatest Irishmen of the nineteenth century -- a one-time revolutionary republican who wound up as a Father of Canadian Confederation, and whose career is endlessly fascinating."

L-R: The Canadian Ambassador with Margaret Harold of the Carlingford Heritage Trust, David Wilson and D'Arcy Magee Quinn

The International Summer School will take place from 20th to 22nd August with the theme 'Thomas D'Arcy McGee – From Young Irelander to Canadian Loyalist'. It will explore Young Ireland and its legacy, McGee's relationship with John Mitchel, the changing and diverse natures of our cherished 'isms' and why so many Young Irelanders served under two flags; Carlingford's D'Arcy McGee in Canada, Newry's John Mitchel in the Confederacy, Newry's John Martin in Westminster, Monaghan's Sir Charles Gavin Duffy in Victoria and Waterford's Thomas Francis Meagher with the Union.

The International Summer School is being organised by Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust and Dundalk Institute of Technology. The stories of D'Arcy McGee and the Young Irelanders will be presented in words, images and music, and the relevance of these stories to modern Irish politics will be discussed. Those attending the summer school will have the opportunity to explore the local landscape, especially those sites associated with the Young Irelanders.

Anthony Russell a retired Senior Lecturer in Education, Anglia Ruskin University said, "The Thomas D'Arcy McGee International Summer School allows us to focus on the very different geographical and political journeys of the Young Irelanders following the 1848 rebellion – like McGee many served under two flags".

It promises to be a very enjoyable and enlightening exploration of the life and history of an extraordinary man.

Pat O'Callaghan, D'Arcy McGee Quinn - great great grandson of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, His Excellency Loyola Hearn, Andrew Griffiths Chairman of DkIT, Oliver Tully Chairman of Louth County Council at the D'Arcy Magee memorial in Carlingford.

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Professor David Wilson spoke to Daire Nelson on the LMFM Mid morning show on Wednesday. Download the podcast here.

Here are some more useful web links:

www.atlanticacademy.ie

Facebook page for the D'Arcy Magee Summer School

And a video promoting the school - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thGWVx9296o

Photo credit: All photos by Shay Larkin

Thumbnail photo at top: Tommy Fegan, Summer School coordinator, speaking at the launch.